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Three Metres

Sometimes three metres feels like a long way…

I’m sure that when Richard Thompson saw Usain Bolt three metres ahead of him crossing the finish line in the 100m final at the London Olympics, it felt like a mile – a huge uncrossable chasm. That day, it proved the difference between gold medal and 7th place. And, when you finally land on the sofa after you’ve been at work all day and battled the kids to bed only to realise the TV remote is on the other side of the room, three metres might as well be a different continent. But this weekend, as my boys balanced up a three-metre-wide mountain path with fairly serious drops on each side, three metres shrunk to the width of dental floss.

The Easter break saw us take a trip to visit my brother (and my 10-month-old niece) in the Peaks. It can be hard to get Adlai to the park at the bottom of our road, but that kid loves adventure so he was keener than any of us to get into the real outdoors and ‘climb a mountain’. So babies and toddlers in tow, we headed for one of our favourite climbs. Most of the way the danger is moderate at worst…Until the final 100 metres or so. That’s when the boys got really excited and Faith got just a little bit scared and volunteered to take my niece back to the car.

Two climbers down, our party bravely pushed for the summit. Adlai led the way with most of my attention being on his ever-so-slightly over-enthusiastic three-year-old brother. It seemed like he moved metres whenever I blinked. Despite the apparently narrowing path, we made it to the top and sat looking out at most of England, feeling a kind of satisfied a slide or climbing frame could never get you.

We slid most the way back down on our bottoms which – while not being great for our clothes – did seem like the safest option. So our three metres represented a tightrope of adventure and achievement, but now I’m back on the couch with no remote it seems I’m destined to watch the CBeebies holding screen for the rest of the evening.

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